The Rise and Rebirth of Shared Mobility in Cities

By Nicholas LoCastro Published on Sep. 24, 2019

Ridesharing is not a new industry. It was prominent in the 17th century across Europe but became even more popular in England’s city streets during the industrial revolution with the invention of the hansom cab. Soon, motorized vehicles took the stage and replaced horse-drawn carriages. Creativity and innovation have led shared mobility to progress through the ages while leaving behind obsolete technologies and practices. Just like horse-drawn carriages, taxis are becoming a remnant of a bygone era. New options of shared mobility are growing, and future cities will only bring more. 

The concept will never change: to get people from point A to point B. However, innovation is changing the ways one reaches this point B.

How Rideshare Companies Are Taking Over

Rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft have become household names and revolutionized their industry in just years. Iconic yellow cabs are slowly fading away and being replaced by the faster, friendlier, and cheaper experience offered by ride-hailing companies, such as Uber. These rideshare companies are becoming the option of choice in many different countries, and traditional taxis have lost their dominant position. 

As well as gaining more territory in cities, rideshare companies have expanded in the suburbs, a market area the taxi never entered.

There are several reasons why people are choosing rideshares over taxi services. Let’s see a few of them: 

  • Rideshare services arrive faster than taxis
  • Companies like Lyft and Uber take full advantage of technology like GPS and direct driver and passenger communication. 
  • Their apps are based on a merit score of 5 stars that encourages drivers to cater the passenger’s needs. 

As we leave behind the heyday of taxis, there's no doubt that the future will be dominated by rideshare companies and the startups that are driving forward this new mobility service.

Shared Mobility: Micro Mobility in The Big City 

While rideshares replace taxi services and creep into suburban life, traffic and crowded public transport are forcing people to find another path. And that is how micro-mobility, a new wave of pedestrian transportation, goes on stage. 

Micro-mobility refers to personal vehicles that are meant for one person. Electric skateboards, electric bikes, and electric scooters are all different examples of micro-mobility, springing up in cities across the United States, Europe and Asia.

You’ve no doubt seen some sort of micro-mobility share program, whether it’s Citi Bikes in New York or Lime Scooters in San Francisco.

There are several companies leading micro-mobility. This image sums up pretty well everyone behind the micro-mobility industry

(Yes, you guessed it: Uber is also involved).

Shared Mobility Micro Mobility Companies

Source: Public announcements, Crunchbase, Tracxn, Base10 research | Graphic created by Base10 from Source Data

Shared Mobility Startups Finding their Niche

It’s no secret that Uber and Lyft have a tight grip on their industry, and it’s nearly impossible for similar startups to enter the market. However, an entrepreneur’s creativity is endless, and many startups have blossomed by finding a niche within the shared mobility industry.

For instance, the company Mozio enables you to book the cheapest ground transportation straight from the airport, so when you get off the plane, your ride is waiting. Your flight was delayed? No problem, Mozio prides itself on waiting for their customers. If you need to cancel, Mozio lets you cancel for free on 99% of rides. 

Another example is Waive Work. Waive Work is the world's first all-electric car-sharing service. Oh, did we mention it's free? Waive Work is completely funded by advertising and is perfect for those who either can’t afford a car, those who get bad mileage, and most importantly, it aims to target people who have to drive for a career. 

Companies that produce benefits for the driver are sure to flourish in the era of ride-hailing services. Passengers want a safe ride that will get them from A to B as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Businesses that recognize and address this necessity effectively are guaranteed to thrive in this ever-changing field.

At Plug and Play’s Smart Cities accelerator we match large corporations with top-tier startups that are changing the world as we know it. Together, they’ll build the cities of the future. Join our platform today.

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